A progress review meeting to discuss the results of a capacity assessment of NPC’s 17 district partner organizations was held in Colombo under the Plural Action for Conflict Transformation (PACT) project, which is funded by Misereor and Cafod. Participants discussed their ideas for the way forward as civil society organizations amid new challenges.
NPC’s Executive Director Dr. Jehan Perera delivered the annual memorial lecture organized by the Thanthai Chelva Memorial Trust in Jaffna on the topic of “Moderating Peace - Unifying the Paths to Reconciliation.” The lecture commemorates the late leader of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kachchi (IITAK) S.J.V. Chelvanayakam who was the dominant Tamil leader of his era. Among his notable contributions was negotiating the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact of 1957 with Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike.
Weligama Local Inter Religious Committee (LIRC) organized a commemoration event on April 21 to remember the victims of Easter Sunday attacks at the Shrine of Christ the Healer. Buddhist, Muslim and Catholic religious leaders of the LIRC attended in a vigil to commemorate those who died and those who were injured.
Two training programmes on the rule of law were conducted for the Trincomalee and Batticaloa Local Inter Religious Committees (LIRCs), including religious leaders and police officers, aimed at helping participants to understand rule of law and religious freedom while explaining domestic and international legal framework and legal provisions available to protect a citizen’s religious rights.
Four focus group discussions were conducted with the public and state officials in Matara and Batticaloa under NPC’s project Sustaining Peace Through Pluralism and Inclusive Service Delivery.
The project, conducted in partnership with the Jaffna, Sabaragamuwa, Ruhuna and Eastern Universities, is to set up certificate courses on pluralism and inclusive service delivery for local level state officials.
Under the Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE) Activity, NPC organized six training programmes on Resilient Communities Through Everyday Democracy Module in Kandy, Mullaitivu, Ampara, Kilinochchi and Batticaloa for 159 participants including coexistence society members, Local Inter Religious Committee members, District Inter Religious Committee members and 59 community leaders. Imran Nafeer conducted the training programme to enhance the participants' basic understanding of a democratic society and its values, to brainstorm and recall learnings from participants' past on a value-based democratic society and to identify key issues and areas to be focused on.
Members of Kuliyapitiya, Panduwasnuwara, Batticaloa and Addalachenai Local Inter Religious Committees (LIRCs), including 50 religious leaders of different faiths, participated in a three day exchange visit conducted to facilitate empathy through experience sharing and interaction under NPC’s project Collective Engagement for Religious Freedom (CERF).
NPC has undertaken a new project funded by Freedom House in partnership with four universities to set up certificate courses for local officials on pluralism and inclusive service delivery. The project, Sustaining Peace Through Pluralism and Inclusive Service Delivery, will enhance the capacity of government officials to deliver public services and to increase their participation in sustaining peace by providing a course under the guidance of the Universities of Ruhuna, Sabaragamuwa, Eastern and Jaffna.
NPC carried out a Training of Trainers workshop in Colombo on Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) through a practical community based approach. This is part of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) PVE Capacity Building in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh project implemented with project partner Helvetas Sri Lanka and with financial support from the European Union. A group of 30 members from six project districts – Ampara, Batticaloa, Mannar, Vavuniya, Kandy and Kurunegala - and 16 staff members from NPC and Helvetas took part in the activity carried out as a hybrid training with an international trainer and inputs from local and international resource persons. Participants also joined in virtually from NPC and from the project implementing team in Bangladesh.
The second round of Food Bazaars to improve coexistence among different ethnic communities by showcasing diverse food culture was held in Matara, Batticaloa, Kegalle and Negombo. The Food Bazaars were a success with more than 100 youth of different ethnic and religious backgrounds taking part as well as government officials and community leaders.